As the second wave of the novel coronavirus has gripped Pakistan, the nerve centre of the nation’s fight against the global pandemic has warned that Covid-19 test positivity ratio is “rapidly increasing” in major urban centres of the country.
Of the 33,340 lab tests conducted on November 8 across the country, 1,650 came out positive, according to the daily updates released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which is overseeing the country’s battle against the contagion.
The deadly virus claimed nine lives during the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide death toll to 6,976. Of them, 2,684 died in Sindh; 2,408 in Punjab; 1,288 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; 241 in Islamabad Capital Territory; 154 in Balochistan; 93 in Gilgit-Baltistan; and 109 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Globally, the mysterious microbe has infected 50,815,027 people – 1,263,111 of them fatally – in almost every continent except Antarctica. The United States has the most Covid infections (10,288,480), followed by India with 8,555,109, Brazil 5,664,115, and Russia 1,796,132.
In its daily meeting convened in Islamabad on Monday, the NCOC was informed that the overall nationwide Covid test positivity ratio is 4.5 %. “Positivity ratio in major cities increasing rapidly,” it added.
Giving the breakdown, the forum noted that 15 major cities have high positivity ratio with Hyderabad being at the top with 16.59 % positivity ratio, followed by Gilgit with 15.38 %, Multan 15.97 %, Muzaffarabad 14.12 %, Mirpur 11.11%, Peshawar 9.69%, Quetta 8.03%, Islamabad 7.48 %, Karachi 7.12%, Lahore 5.37% and Rawalpindi 4.63%.
The NCOC discussed at length the uptick in the Covid positivity ratio and the recent enforcement measures put in place following the meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC).
The provincial chief secretaries updated the forum on the administrative measures on the fresh guidelines in the cities with high positivity ratio in their respective provinces, particularly the administrative measures and enforcement efforts regarding face mask-wearing and arrangements for outdoor weddings modalities to ensure fresh health guidelines.
The forum was informed that currently 4,136 micro-small lockdowns are in place across Pakistan. The Test-Trace-Quarantine (TTQ) strategy is being used for control and prevention of Covid-19 spread. The fresh health guidelines will remain in force in 16 major cities until Jan 31, 2021.
The NCOC was apprised that 2,811 “oxygenated beds” were included to ramp up capacity of state-run hospitals and over 13,000 oxygen cylinders were issued to the federating units.
The forum appreciated the efforts of the provincial governments for taking prompt and necessary measures in line with the health guidelines for public safety and wellbeing.
According to the NCOC stats, there were 18,981 active Covid-19 infections as of November 9. In all, 344,839 Covid infections had been detected in Pakistan since February 26, 2020 – 4,758 in AJK, 16,106 in Balochistan, 4,366 in G-B, 21,861 in ICT, 40,657 in K-P, 106,922 in Punjab, and 150,169 in Sindh. As many as 318,881 patients have recovered thus far.
There are 736 state-run hospitals with Covid treatment facilities across the country where 1,107 patients are currently admitted. Similarly, 1,856 ventilators are available for Covid patients, while only 155 are currently occupied – none of them in AJK, G-B and Balochistan.